Update from Rev. Francesca Fortunato, Children and Youth Ministry Leader
As I write this, the Park Sunday school children have just finished celebrating Pentecost together. Pentecost is one of my favorite holy days, because it’s all ours (as the Church Universal). We have secular Christmas (people who trim trees and give gifts, without celebrating the birth of Christ) and secular Easter (chocolate bunnies, dyed eggs and fancy hats; no resurrection) but there’s no secular Pentecost. It’s all about the joy of becoming, and continuing to be, church together, as the Holy Spirit works miracles within and amongst us, empowering our prayers and communal love, for God and for humanity. I did my best to convey that “birthday of the church” excitement and joy to the children who were present, as we read two different versions of the Pentecost story (Acts 2) and talked about the miracle of tongues, and what it means for and about today’s disciples (being a spiritual community of people from all over the world, united by our love and striving to follow Jesus). We also expressed the joy of Pentecost by making beautiful necklaces and bracelets to wear, using red, orange and yellow beads with gold cord. That was so much fun; the children didn’t want to stop, and we ate our snacks while continuing to work on our Pentecost jewelry!For those who are wondering, yes, there will be Sunday school on Memorial Day weekend, and I will be there, along with our wonderful teachers, Ms. Laura and Ms. Glenda. We will be reading Isaiah 6: 1-8, and celebrating the glory of God, as revealed on earth, by painting beautiful pictures of our Springtime world, full of new life.
June will be the last month of our Sunday school year, and, with Pride Sunday as our last Sunday school day, the focus for June will be the idea that humanity, in all of our diversity of gender identity, gender expression, and affectional orientations, are made in the image and likeness of God, blessing, blessed, and beautiful. Specific readings and lesson plans to come, in my shorter, weekly newsletters.
During July and August, Ms. Laura and Ms. Glenda will alternate Sundays to provide childcare for any children present, who need it. I will be spending my Sundays with the St. Nicholas Home congregation in Brooklyn, where I serve as volunteer chaplain (their services are on Tuesdays during the Sunday school year) while continuing my other part time paid job as a dance and fitness instructor at several senior centers. I also plan to get back into the ballroom studio at Dance With Me SoHo, where I have been studying and competing for the last 5 years, along with my wife, Lynn. I’d been on hiatus , partly due to financial challenges, but also because of a fractured small toe on my right foot. It is finally sufficiently healed, that I can put a high heeled ballroom shoe on it again. Thanks be to God!
I will look forward to happy reunion with the Park Sunday school community in September. Thanks so much, to all of the members of this congregation, for making me feel welcome and supported.
Blessings and joy!